Human Rights Council holds general debate on the Universal Periodic Review
A number of delegations also mentioned the importance of States exhibiting openness and cooperation throughout the Universal Periodic Review process. Moreover, the Council should not allow the Universal Periodic Review to be a platform for biased and politicized comments. The Universal Periodic Review was a good platform for the international community to ensure monitoring on an equal and voluntary basis. Moreover, it was common knowledge that no country was perfect when it came to its human rights record and that improvements could be made in every society. The Universal Periodic Review mechanism constituted an important tool for addressing areas where problems persisted and exploring ways to make progress. Moreover, these interim reports were extremely useful and served as learning tools to countries facing similar problems and challenges. Another unique feature of the Universal Periodic Review was that most other processes concerned themselves with the human rights situation of States as they were "now" whereas the Universal Periodic Review gave the human rights situation of individual countries a certain historical perspective. The Universal Periodic Review was a process where the State's performance was measured not only against the ideal of international human rights standards and to the performance of other States, but also against the State's own performance from the previous cycle.
According to some speakers, the most important element of the Universal Periodic Review was the sharing of experiences between countries and the opportunity it offered to observe other States who faced similar challenges. The improvement of the human rights situation on the ground was the first objective of the Universal Periodic Review. As the first cycle was drawing to an end, a thorough assessment needed to be done on how the Universal Periodic Review was performing and how it needed to be improved. States needed to inform the Council on the progress made in the implementation of recommendations and the Council should be given the possibility to address the adequacy or inadequacy of those efforts accordingly. Finally, a number of delegations expressed concern about the politicization of the Universal Periodic Review, which transformed what could be a process of cooperation into one of confrontation. Such politicization only served to undermine the credibility of the Council and set a dangerous precedent. States should therefore refrain from bringing their political agenda to the Review, not least because this was procedurally irrelevant and could undermine the principles and objectives of the Review and damage the credibility of the mechanism.
Speaking this afternoon were Belgium on behalf of the European Union, Russian Federation, China, Cuba, Poland, Japan, United States, Republic of Korea, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Austria, Cyprus, Romania, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Algeria.
Also speaking were the following non-governmental organizations: Colombian Commission of Jurists, Action Canada for Population and Development, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Amnesty International, International Indian Treaty Council and Human Rights Watch.